Computational modeling and stress analysis of columellar biomechanics

J Mech Behav Biomed Mater. 2012 Nov;15:46-58. doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2012.06.006. Epub 2012 Jun 20.


The open approach for rhinoplasty offers excellent exposure of the various components of the nose in situ. The biggest advantage of the external approach is the complete anatomic exposure, which allows the surgeon to inspect the osteo-cartilagineous framework, while the biggest disadvantage is represented by the transcolumellar scar. The goal of this study is to numerically quantify the stress induced on the scar of a human columella by a constant load, through a fine tuned finite elasticity continuum model. Specifically we want to determine the best shape of incision which would minimize this stress. The columellar portion of the nose, together with the various constituting tissues, has been modeled in a first approximation as a hyperelastic body and seven types of scars have been studied. The determination of the best incision must be a compromise among different factors: shape and size primarily, but also position with respect to the internal structures and external loads. From this point of view, the best class of scar appears to be, both at simulated and real levels, the V-shaped one, inducing a maximum logarithmic von Mises stress in tissue of 4.67 Pa, and an absolute minimum stress distribution on the scar of 4.17 Pa. Numerical simulations appear to be in agreement with the evidence-based results coming from surgical practice, thus confirming the necessity to minimize local stresses on the tissue. A parameters' sensitivity analysis further highlighted our optimal choice. The proposed mathematical model can be applied both to theoretically designed and numerically verified new non-conventional scar geometries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cicatrix
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Elasticity
  • Humans
  • Nose* / anatomy & histology
  • Nose* / surgery
  • Rhinoplasty
  • Stress, Mechanical*